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LIRR to transfer part of Grand Central service to Penn Station amid service expansion issues

Four Long Island Rail Road trains will move from the new Grand Central Madison terminus to Penn Station, the latest in a series of service changes to address issues starting the new service.

“The first week of the new hours was tough as customers adjusted and, frankly, the MTA adjusted,” MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said during a news conference at Grand Central on Thursday.

Starting Monday, two trains, the 5:42 a.m. from Ronkonkoma and the 7:54 a.m. from Long Beach, will go to Penn Station instead of Grand Central.

Also starting Monday, two Long Island-bound trains leaving Grand Central Madison, the 7:31 a.m. train to Hempstead and the 5:28 p.m. train to Babylon, will depart from Penn Station instead. .

Additionally, the busy Ronkonkoma line will receive some adjustments, with four weekday morning trains currently leaving Brentwood first making stops in Ronkonkoma and Central Islip.

“Before these new hours went into effect, we said we would be watching closely from the get-go, and we have been,” said LIRR President Cathy Rinaldi.

The LIRR was thrown into disarray last week when new schedules miscalculated the immediate demand for service to Grand Central and eliminated direct service to Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal in the process.

Delays and crowds have eased somewhat with the addition of more frequent shuttle service between Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica Station, as well as removing underutilized train cars to those now at full capacity .

LIRR passengers arriving at Grand Central Madison.

The MTA expected 40% of Manhattan-bound LIRR riders to use Grand Central Madison, Lieber said last week. The reality was closer to 30%, leading to overcrowding at Penn.

That might not be the case for long, the LIRR chief said.

“It appears that, at least earlier this week, there was more customer migration to GCM from Penn,” Rinaldi said. “It’s too early to say we have a trend on our hands, but we saw it earlier in the week so we’re keeping an eye on it.”

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